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Image of Virgin of Lujan taken to Falklands during the war to be returned at ceremony blessed by the Pope

Tuesday, September 17th 2019 - 09:55 UTC
Full article 25 comments
The Virgin of Lujan image is currently at Saint Michael and Saint George Cathedral at Aldershot, Hampshire county, seat of the British forces bishopric The Virgin of Lujan image is currently at Saint Michael and Saint George Cathedral at Aldershot, Hampshire county, seat of the British forces bishopric
The image first arrived in the Falklands on 9 April 1982, seven days after the invasion The image first arrived in the Falklands on 9 April 1982, seven days after the invasion
On 30 October the Pope in Rome will bless the original image which is returning to Argentina and a replica given in retribution to the British head of chaplains  On 30 October the Pope in Rome will bless the original image which is returning to Argentina and a replica given in retribution to the British head of chaplains

An image of Argentina's saint patron, the Virgin of Lujan, which was carried to the Falklands during the 1982 conflict, and remained unaccounted for during years, will be returned by the United Kingdom. In retribution, the Argentine military bishop will hand a replica of the image to the head of British military chaplains in a ceremony to take place next month in the Vatican with Pope Francis blessing the images.

The news was published by Buenos Aires La Nacion daily indicating that military bishop Santiago Olivera will meet his UK counterpart Paul James Mason at the ceremony in a public audience in Saint Peter's square, scheduled for 30 October.

The image is currently at Saint Michael and Saint George Cathedral at Aldershot, Hampshire county, seat of the British forces bishopric. A plaque recalls that the Argentines invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982 and took with them the image of their saint patron the Virgin of Lujan. Following their rendition the Argentines left the image with Monsignor Dan Spraggon, apostolic prefect of the Islands. Monsignor presented the image to Father Alfred Hayes, who was with the UK forces during the campaign.

With the war over Father Hayes asked authorization from Monsignor Spraggon to take the image to Aldershot Cathedral to honor the dead combatants from both sides.

Last year, a layman linked to a Catholic organization, The Faith of Centurion, from the Quilmes dioceses which organizes spiritual retreats for war veterans and relatives read a message from a British medic, saying that an image of the Virgin of Lujan was at the Aldershot cathedral. “Once the information was confirmed, we started discussions for its return to Argentina” revealed Monsignor Olivera.

Monsignor then contacted Pope Francis during the ad limina visit of Argentine bishops to Rome, who showed an immediate interest. “He asked me for time so he could find a space in his agenda since he wanted to personally bless the image, and we agreed on 30 October”.

According to Argentine data, the image first arrived in the Falklands on 9 April 1982, seven days after the invasion, and during the first weeks of the conflict it remained at the Malvinas Military Air Base, Stanley airport, and was later taken to the Saint Mary parish. Allegedly Argentine soldiers shared a last mass with the image at St. Mary's on 8 May 1982, and since then Argentines lost contact with the Virgin.

Last 8 May, Olivera met with Mason in Rome and promised a replica of the original, thus ensuring the exchange, which is to blessed by Pope Francis on 30 October, in coincidence with the V Training Course for Catholic Military Chaplains that will take place at the Holy See.

More info: https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/50458

 

“I'm certain it will be a poignant occasion, as well as an important reconciliation signal in the context of the meeting of the military bishops from all the world” anticipated Monsignor Joseph Murphy head of Vatican protocol.

Top Comments

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  • Roger Lorton

    “The investigation into the vandalized hermitage at the Argentine Cemetery in the Falklands has seen the local police investigation extend to the UK and Argentina. Forensic material has been sent to Britain and Falklands’ police have requested the Malvinas Families Commission to help identify the origin of a Spanish Bible with a message signed by a “Viviana” found inside the attacked shrine.”

    https://en.mercopress.com/2012/08/10/falklands-argentine-cemetery-investigation-extends-to-the-uk-and-malvinas-families

    Sep 19th, 2019 - 07:23 am +4
  • Roger Lorton

    Not the one in the glass box then. Pity. How about that gets returned too. Get one, get another one free? Two dolls for the price of none? Such Argentine symbols in the Islands will be a constant source of aggravation until they are all removed. Including the bodies that Argentina left behind.

    Sep 17th, 2019 - 10:23 pm +2
  • Roger Lorton

    From my recollection Think, the first investigation indicated an Argentine offender but then hit a brick wall when the Argentine Police would not take enquiries further. Still sitting as an open case on someone's desk.

    There is less information regarding second damage event, but without witnesses, such is the frustrating lot of the investigator.

    Perhaps you can pull some weight with the Argie Polis and get the first one sorted. No?

    Religion is just State-certified, organised indoctrination Think. Probably a lot of it in Argieland. The people seem susceptible to that sort of thing.

    ;-)

    Sep 18th, 2019 - 10:49 pm +2
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